If someone you love might be suffering from elder abuse, it’s important to ask questions. The questions below were adapted from the Elder Abuse Suspicion Index © (EASI). EASI is a set of questions that doctors ask if they think an elderly patient is being abused. You can use these elder abuse assessment questions to check on your senior’s well-being and take action from there.
1. Has anyone limited your daily activities?
If someone is limiting a senior’s daily activities, they may be doing so in order to take advantage of them. This is what the National Council on Aging (NCOA) describes as “willful deprivation,” and it can have wide-ranging negative consequences.
Through willful deprivation, seniors may not receive:
- Food and water
- Glasses or hearing aids
- Medical care
It can also mean that someone has restricted the elder from seeing friends or loved ones. According to the National Institute of Aging (NIA), this is a form of emotional abuse.
If a senior confirms that someone has been restricting or changing their daily activities, it’s important to find out who. In the past, there have been cases of family members, at-home caregivers, or nursing home staff members controlling what seniors do.
2. Has someone talked to you in a threatening way?
While verbal threats may not leave any physical marks, they can be very damaging to an elder’s emotional health.
Verbal harassment can make elders scared, agitated, or withdrawn. It may also lead to mental health problems like anxiety or depression.
Sometimes an abuser may use threats to prevent a senior from speaking to loved ones, nursing home staff, or law enforcement officials. This type of intimidation can make it harder for seniors to receive the help they need.
3. Has someone forced you to give them money or sign strange papers?
If someone has forced an elder to give them money or to sign papers (like checks or legal documents), it can be a possible sign of financial abuse.
Financial abuse can drain seniors of their life savings, leaving them unable to cover basic living expenses. It can also cause seniors to suffer from depression, distrust, and feelings of worthlessness, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA).
Sadly, some cases of financial abuse may not come to light until months or years after the fact as they can be hard to detect. Some seniors with mental or physical health issues may not be able to properly track their finances — leaving them targets for abuse.
For instance, a former attorney stole nearly $1 Million from a nursing home resident with dementia over a seven-year period before his arrest in 2019.
4. Has anyone touched you without your consent or hit you?
No senior should ever be inappropriately touched or hit. These physical interactions could be signs of sexual or physical abuse.
Other signs of physical abuse include:
- Broken bones or sprains
- Loss of hair or teeth
Physical injuries around the genitals may stem from sexual abuse. Even if a loved one has not been physically injured, unwanted touching (such as rubbing the genitals) is sexual assault and can traumatize them.
You may want to take a less direct approach to ask these sensitive questions. For example, you can ask your loved one to explain how they got an injury on their body if one is visible.
Other Elder Abuse Assessment Questions
Sometimes, seniors may not answer elder abuse assessment questions truthfully out of fear that their abuser will find out and hurt them. Thankfully, there are some questions you can ask yourself if you think an elder is being abused.
- Does the senior seem withdrawn or in a bad mood?
- Are they not making eye contact with you or others?
- Do they suffer from poor hygiene?
- Are they improperly clothed?
- Do they have strange cuts, bruises, or other injuries?
- Are they not regularly taking their medications?
If you identify any of these issues, there are several steps you can take to keep your senior safe. Learn what you can do below.
Elder Abuse Assessment Questions: Next Steps
If you believe that an elder you love is being abused or neglected, the first step is to remove them from the harmful environment if possible. For example, you can take them out of a nursing home if you think a staff member or another resident harmed the senior.
From there, you should take them to a hospital for medical treatment if necessary.
It is also important to report nursing home abuse or elder abuse to the police or local elder-care organizations like Adult Protective Services (APS). This can help start an investigation into the issue and bring those accountable to justice.
Finally, it’s important to explore your legal options if an elderly loved one has been abused. With legal help, seniors can receive compensation for their injuries, medical treatments, and other expenses.
Our team can tell you more about the signs of elder abuse and how to receive compensation. To learn more, get a free case review today.